I am going to have a conversation with you on how to be a champion.
When I say conversation, I mean both of us are talking. So many people in the nutrition field just don’t listen; they spin on like a broken record about how all the processed foods we eat are devoid of enzymes and whatnot. Nobody likes being preached at.
Three weeks deep into classes, putting my listening skills to work, and there is a blatant trend. Dear friends are burdened with feeling tired, dense, foggy and fatigued. Some people say these feelings are normal for college students. This “foggy” and “fatigued” “normality” we are cursed with. Common??… Yes! Normal? …No!! I call it sick. How to avoid this? Well, let’s just start with breakfast.
Making the effort to get up and eat breakfast at all is the first step. It has become a cliché, I know, but in my own experience, crazy begets crazy, and grounded begets grounded. Eating breakfast not only fires up your calorie-burning rate (yes, metabolism), but according to the Academy Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), it honestly does cause feelings of satisfaction and alertness throughout the day; no binging on sub-par choices later. AND also says, “Breakfast improves performance:
• Improved test results, as well as memory and verbal skills
• Improved speed and memory on cognitive tests
• Fewer mistakes and faster work in math and number checking
• Improvement on concentration for mental tasks and reaction to frustration”
Crazy right?! Also, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “People who skip breakfast often weigh more. Eating a nutrient-dense breakfast may help you lose weight and keep it off.” Notice the USDA says “nutrient-dense”, which brings us to our next discussion,
“Katie, what is the healthiest thing to eat here (Kappa Kappa Gamma) for breakfast??”
AND’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee Report to eat more plant foods, including whole grains and fruits, and fewer empty calories for breakfast.
Plant food (noun): Nourishment grown with energy from the sun; includes vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds.
Our options: fresh fruits such as apples, oranges and bananas.
Whole-grain (adjective): Of or being natural or unprocessed grain containing the germ and bran.
Our options: Kappa doesn’t actually offer completely whole grains for breakfast such as steel cut oats, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, barley or brown rice. However, they do offer a “regular” or “original” flavored oatmeal packet, which is the closest thing. Next in line comes the whole grain bread and whole grain English muffins. Whole grain cereal would be next up, but I don’t personally recommend thinking of “whole grain cereal” as a whole grain because of all the added sugars.
Empty Calorie (noun)- a calorie whose source has little or no nutritional value. Empty calories come in the form of fats and/or added sugars. Our empty calorie trap: Have any idea how those white breads, bagels, English muffins, granola bars, cereals, pop-tarts, oatmeal packets, yes, even yogurts, are so sweet? You guessed it, added sugar. Before you throw up your hands and declare that you can’t live without these things, let me assure you that your life will remain sweet, scrumptious and satisfying, without white sugar.
Healthy options at Kappa include:
• Regular/original flavored oatmeal with a chopped up apple and a chopped up banana
• Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana
• Fruit salad of chopped apple, orange and banana
• An apple and/ or a banana with peanut butter
Please do not be flabbergasted by my suggestions! They can certainly be mixed and matched! These are just the healthiest options according to the facts. I understand that it may seem limiting, but the more you flirt with these options, the more you will create a food-mood connection, and simply not want to go back!
“Don’t our bodies need sugar?” Yes! But not EXCESS sugar. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information,
Sugar makes us fat: The body stores excess sugars as fat. Added sugar to food = excess sugar to your body = excess fat to your body.
Sugar puts our bodies on a roller coaster. Sounds fun, but it’s not. Following the sensory pleasure and initial rush, the roller coaster takes us to extreme peaks in blood sugar, which may include nausea, headaches and fatigue, while the roller coaster’s lows (blood sugar crashing) bring on irritability, anxiety, dizziness, crying and depression. Oh yeah, and cravings for more sugar! I can personally attest that life is much happier and more balanced off the roller coaster.
Sugar leaches vitamins and minerals from your blood and bones. Since refined sugar is so un-whole, our bodies offer up vitamins and minerals to help metabolize it, actually making sugar an anti-nutrient because it takes nourishment from the body; eventually causing tooth decay, bone loss, depression and weak blood. Not so sweet!
White sugar suppresses the immune system: If you get colds all the time, you might want to look at your sugar consumption. It is known that glucose (sugar) and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so what happens when the sugar levels go up? They compete against one another upon entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of vitamin C into the cells. If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cell. So, when sugar is eaten, the immune system is slowing down to a crawl.
Well, there you have it! Please contact me with any questions or concerns about this article. I wish you the best of luck! May you live at your best! Yours in sustainability and vibrancy! Hope to hear from you! See you later, champ!
Kappa Kappa Gamma Food Committee
Group X Instructor
Certified Raw Vegan Chef